The Cons have another Joyce Davidson moment


"Like most Canadians, I am indifferent to the visit of the Queen." Thus pretty much ended the Canadian television career of Joyce Davidson, an otherwise admirable presence on CBC's early public affairs program Tabloid in 1959.

Even at the time, I thought that Davidson's misstep had more to do with her presumption that she knew what "most Canadians" thought or felt about almost anything than it did with enthusiasm for the queen, and Gallup poll numbers seem to confirm that reading. (She had also generalized about what Canadians think in front of an American audience, which just made things worse, although it led to a successful career in U.S. television for her.) If there's one generalization about Canadians that I feel safe in making, it is that Canadians hate being generalized about, hate elites who presume to read their thoughts without asking, to put words in their mouths, to define their "values" for them, to claim they just know that Canadians do or don't care about particular issues. You can see where I'm going with this.

Harper had his major Joyce Davidson moment at New Year's, when he smugly opined that Canadians don't care about the Afghan prisoner-transfer scandal, thus provoking the formation of CAPP. The bullying language of "shared values" is never far from the lips of any minister who is unmuzzled for an approved purpose and runs into a little resistance. And now we have the sheer farce of Tony Clement and Maxime Bernier falling back on a few choruses of "The lurkers all love me" in their increasingly pathetic attempts to argue that Canadians not only don't care about the long-form census but actively hate it. (They might have tried appeals to "the silent majority," but Dalton McGuinty has the corner on that one for the moment. Whose idea was it, btw, to send Bernier out to talk about the place of the state in the bedrooms of the nation? Bernier, a man who left state documents in a bedroom?)

So what do Canadians do when the presumptions of the popinjays in Ottawa provoke them to proving once again that we can be a pretty uppity bunch? Well, we write songs, of course. As Tom Lehrer once sort of sang, "They may be winning the battles, but we've got all the good songs." And such a summer of song it has been. Jennifer Smith and friends' ode to Harper's fake lake, "If I had a billion dollars," Alison's musical tribute to the wired little kettling copper bears of the G20 (video still in development, Alison? I know a blogging guitar man ... or should that be a guitar-playing blogging man?). If citizens on the march (or even just passing through) learned to sing that old standby "Oh Canada" with one eye to the nearest exit, there were also those serendipitous moments on the street when they suddenly got rhythm (that one comes with a lap dance).

So this newest addition to the summer song canon should come as no surprise, if a happy and fitting response to the tin-eared tyrants in Ottawa. After all, who but Canadians (ok: some Canadians -- no overgeneralizing offence meant) would think to spend their summer singing the praises of the long-form census? I may even have a little something about the collection of vital statistics in nineteenth-century Ontario up my sleeve after this. I promise: you'll be able to dance to it.

Here are John Campey and the Data Hounds with the census song, "Count Me In."

H/t Chrystal Ocean at Challenging the Commonplace for the vid and April Reign for the lurkers.

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Commenter Stewart Smith at Maclean's has a good song:

Imagine there's no census
It's easy if you try
we will make it happen
Even if we have to lie
Imagine all the people
How many I can’t say

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no taxes, yahoo!
Imagine all the people
How many I can’t say

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

comment on July 19 at

God bless her soul ... was that Sarwah in the background bouncing in harmony?

Great song from Stewart Smith!

And yes, Croggy, that seems to be Sarah. Dunno why, but she seems to be enjoying herself. Guitar player looks a little glum, though, eh?

Thank you for this, skdadl! Following the shenanigans of the latest batch of bandits we have in Ottawa makes you either want to cry or laugh, and laughing is definitely healthier!

But you are right. The guitar player appears to be on the edge of tears. Understandably. It IS an emotional subject.

As Mark Twain put it, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and Tony Cle ... um, statistics."

Now why would the Harpercons be afraid of statistics, you ask yourself?

Political pandering is a real possibility, one that has been voiced.

Myself, I just think that it would be a helluva lot more convenient for the Conservatives to be able to push through on their agenda without having to be bothered with annoying, you know, data.

I find the Sarah Palin standup being wielded by a anonymous pixelated Canadian to be at a level of social commentary beyond my small comprehension. Does anyone want to have a go at explaining it?

"Even at the time..."

You remember 1959? Jeebus!

lol. Yeah. I'm, like, old. I was born in 1945. My dad was a newspaperman. I was into current affairs young. And we all watched TV together in those days.

1945 is not old. 1944 is old. 1945 is just a kid. A baby. A WARbaby, mind you, like myself.

And Mr. Clement is a baby indeed, politically wet behind the ears if he thinks he can ignore the citizenry and respond only, like Nipper, to His Master's Voice.

Check this:

“It’s not just valuable, it’s absolutely fundamental and essential to have the correct statistical information upon which to base your public policy and spending decisions. I think that a fundamental point that Canadians see as a truism,” [Goodale] said.

It's like I said ...

I remember, SOG! Isn't it amazing how our birthday creeps up on us every year so fast about this time?

Pretty soon -- pension! Go us.

Already there, skdadl. C'mon in. The water's fine.

I do not like filling in forms, SOG. I think I have to find some nice young person who falls for my addled routine and fills out the forms for me.


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This page contains a single entry by skdadl published on July 20, 2010 11:37 AM.

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